William Wakefield Baum

William Wakefield Baum

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William Wakefield Baum

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William Wakefield Baum (born November 21, 1926) is an American clergyman of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau (1970–1973) and Archbishop of Washington (1973–1980) before serving in the Roman Curia as Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education (1980–1990) and Major Penitentiary (1990–2001). He was elevated to the cardinalate in 1976, and is the longest-serving American cardinal of all time.


Early life and ordination

William Wakefield White was born in Dallas, Texas, to Harold E. and Mary Leona (née Hayes) White. His father, a Presbyterian, died when William was a young child, and afterward he moved with his mother to Kansas City, Missouri. His mother married Jerome C. Baum, a Jewish businessman, who adopted the child and gave him his last name. He received his early education at St. Peter's parochial school, and began to serve as an altar boy at age ten. He entered St. John's Minor Seminary in 1940, then studied philosophy at Glennon College in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1947, he entered Kenrick Seminary, also in St. Louis. Ordained a priest on 12 May 1951, he spent his early church career in Missouri.

Priest and bishop

A privy chamberlain from 1961, from 1962 to 1965 he served as both vice-chancellor of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and as an "expert" at the Second Vatican Council. He later became chancellor of that diocese before being named a bishop himself, heading the diocese of......
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